Author Topic: Smart Plug Fail  (Read 424 times)
suzukir122
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Smart Plug Fail « on: July 07, 2024, 10:51:32 PM » Author: suzukir122
One of my smart plugs finally failed, and unfortunately my friend/neighbor witnessed the failure in action as well -- my six Metal Halide wallpacks!
I was showing off a bit with my sports car, for my neighbor who is a car enthusiast. This was around 9:40pm, so it was getting dark outside. We were both
talking to each other facing the car with our backs to the garage. Suddenly, all six of my Wallpacks shut off. We both turned around.
"Well, son of a," I remembered jokingly saying. We both laughed. I took out my phone and went to the app... the smart plug cycled, so
it was back on and the Metal Halides were about to get to the point of restrike. I hit the button on the app for the smart plug, to shut it back off.
We continued our conversation. My neighbor caught the Wallpacks firing up and pointed it out to me since my back was turned to the garage.
I turned around... yep... they were firing up. "Bruhh..." I remembered saying. I walked into my garage, got my small step ladder, reached up and
unplugged my power strip and smart plug... then put the smart plug in my pocket.
 :lol: After the conversation with my friend was over, I inspected the smart plug... no burn marks. I plugged it back in without the power strip, and sat
there listening to it cycling on and off constantly. Checked the app... it was online for a second but then quickly went offline, which is also abnormal.
Obviously it was on the fritz, so I threw it away. The other two Wallpacks that I recently installed were on a separate smart plug... I'm using those two
for light for the time being until I get to the point of cleaning up the wiring mess, etc... so six of my eight Wallpacks will remain off until then.
I'm using these smart plugs, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I trust them -- I don't. I have that fear in the back of my mind that they'll shut off
and on whenever they pleased, and sure enough, it happened. I'm just hoping that it wasn't happening at random while I wasn't around my garage, etc.
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Re: Smart Plug Fail « Reply #1 on: July 18, 2024, 03:42:50 PM » Author: suzukir122
A second smart plug has failed... this time involving my CMH lamps that I use in my bedroom. I walked in my bedroom and found my three CMH randomly
firing up. As soon as I went to the app, the smart plug went offline, and would not return online. So I pushed the button on the side of the smart
plug, which would normally shut the smart plug off manually. The smart plug would not shut off... so I unplugged it and threw it away. Much like
the smart plug that failed in my garage, this one was not overheating, and did not show any signs of overheating, etc.
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Interests:
1. Motorcycles, Cars, Women, and Lighting (especially fluorescent)
2. Weightlifting/staying extremely athletic
3. Severe Thunderstorms of all kinds
4. Food and drinks. So gimme them bbq ribs
Lighting has ALWAYS been a passion of mine. I consider everyone on here to be a friend

Medved
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Re: Smart Plug Fail « Reply #2 on: July 19, 2024, 01:16:25 AM » Author: Medved
Looks like some capacitor has degraded, so the internal supply is not able to hold up properly...
If you manage to open the "plug" without damage, I think it will be fixable...
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Lightingguy1994
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Re: Smart Plug Fail « Reply #3 on: July 19, 2024, 02:42:20 AM » Author: Lightingguy1994
If I had to guess, the fixtures ignitors could be causing harmful interference to the smart plugs electronics until it fails. I noticed HID fixtures with ignitors tend to create some kind of noise on the line when starting.

See if you can put a surge supressor between the fixtures and the next smart plug just in case. What brand of smart plug are they?
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Re: Smart Plug Fail « Reply #4 on: July 19, 2024, 07:28:09 AM » Author: suzukir122
The smart plugs brand name is "Geeni." I bought them all from Walmart a while back.
I've been wondering if the smart plugs could handle the Metal Halides, ignitors and all... so far it looks as if they can't.
This includes my little 20w track lights, and also my 23w self ballasted Par38 CMH, since the smart plug that just failed
was operating those three at the time.
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Interests:
1. Motorcycles, Cars, Women, and Lighting (especially fluorescent)
2. Weightlifting/staying extremely athletic
3. Severe Thunderstorms of all kinds
4. Food and drinks. So gimme them bbq ribs
Lighting has ALWAYS been a passion of mine. I consider everyone on here to be a friend

Medved
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Re: Smart Plug Fail « Reply #5 on: July 19, 2024, 09:34:42 AM » Author: Medved
Does the smart plugs use triac or an electromagnetic relay?
And what ballast are you using?

Triacs have reliability problems when switching loads with a capacitor on its input, like a PFC capacitor or so. The problem is the huge inrush current and mainly its di/dt rising edge. If that exceeds the triac rating, the triacs tend to fail. What happens there the current rises faster than the area across the triac silicon die that becomes conductive, so the small area conducting large current gets damaged by local overcurrent/overheating.
Both triacs, as well as thyristors are principally suffering from this limitation, but triacs tend to be especially sensitive, they even start to rectify as a failure mode.
And also when an inductor gets involved in the switched circuit, the triacs do need some voltage clamping snubber network, otherwise they get damaged by overvoltage. The reason is, triacs do not switch off exactly at zero current (at the zero crossing event), but still when there still flows some current, which then gets abrubtly interrupted. And this abrupt interruption then causes large overvoltages when any inductance gets involved.

Mechanical relays tolerate such spiking a bit better, but still it is of rather great stress for them. Usually a relay rated for 10A with a resistive load becomes barely 2A for inductive or capacitive load (ANY magnetic ballast - even HPF ones; what matters is not the phase at 50/60Hz steady state operation, but the fast transients during turn ON/OFF).


But because the thing is cycling even without any load, I doubt it is something by such switching stress, my guess is it failed on its own (a nearly open circuit electrolytic on the supply cause it to cycle around the POR level as the controller varies its consumption, causing it to periodically reset)...
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suzukir122
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Re: Smart Plug Fail « Reply #6 on: July 19, 2024, 02:09:48 PM » Author: suzukir122
@Medved, I'm not sure whether those smart plugs use triac or electromagnetic relay. I'm also not sure about the specifics regarding my magnetic ballasts
in my MH wallpacks, or the electronic ballasts in my CMH track lights and Par38 CMH.
There's a high probability that I may ditch the Geeni smart plugs altogether, for the sake of my fluorescent and MH... I'm not a fan of even the slightest
possibility of smart plugs cycling.
From what I know, none of my wallpacks in my garage contain capacitors, so there is high amp draw there unfortunately... and the smart plug that failed was
powering 6 of my Metal Halide wallpacks... and the wallpacks *supposedly* draw 1.6amps... so almost 10 amps total. Maybe high amp draw caused that smart plug
to fail?
But then, the more recent failure was of course with my two 20w CMH track lights, and one Par38 CMH 23w self ballasted lamp, and there is no way that should
be due to high amps. Maybe that failure was due to internal capacitors, if any?
One thing I forgot to mention... that latest smart plug fail was from the very first smart plug I had ever bought... so this makes me wonder if those smart
plugs have a rated life of about 2 years or something.
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Interests:
1. Motorcycles, Cars, Women, and Lighting (especially fluorescent)
2. Weightlifting/staying extremely athletic
3. Severe Thunderstorms of all kinds
4. Food and drinks. So gimme them bbq ribs
Lighting has ALWAYS been a passion of mine. I consider everyone on here to be a friend

Lightingguy1994
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Re: Smart Plug Fail « Reply #7 on: July 19, 2024, 04:32:04 PM » Author: Lightingguy1994
I use 2 smart plugs made by Defiant and they seem to be good. I use one for control of a lavalamp and the other controls a few small CRTs and modulators with android boxes that auto boot the content to make channels. Mostly just for fun and only used on occasion.

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Re: Smart Plug Fail « Reply #8 on: July 19, 2024, 06:29:31 PM » Author: joseph_125
I use TP-Link products and they seem to be pretty decent for the price. They use relays to switch the load as well and I haven't had any trouble with them to switch fluorescent and HID lights.
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Re: Smart Plug Fail « Reply #9 on: July 19, 2024, 08:41:42 PM » Author: suzukir122
Should I look for smart plugs that use relays? If so, I could go on Ebay and purchase TP-Link smart plugs when I get the chance, or Defiant smart plugs.
Either way, I may have to buy and temporarily use another Geeni smart plug for the six MH wallpacks in my garage for the time being. I need them so that I
can fix my motorcycle soon.
I may have time to tidy up the wiring mess in my garage tomorrow... if so, during that time, I might also switch things up so that the next smart plug
doesn't use six wallpacks... one smart plug would use four wallpacks, while the other uses the other four.
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Interests:
1. Motorcycles, Cars, Women, and Lighting (especially fluorescent)
2. Weightlifting/staying extremely athletic
3. Severe Thunderstorms of all kinds
4. Food and drinks. So gimme them bbq ribs
Lighting has ALWAYS been a passion of mine. I consider everyone on here to be a friend

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Re: Smart Plug Fail « Reply #10 on: July 20, 2024, 03:14:45 AM » Author: Lightingguy1994
I should add the defiant brand ones do make a click noise when turned on or off so they likely have relays.
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Re: Smart Plug Fail « Reply #11 on: July 20, 2024, 06:41:26 AM » Author: suzukir122
The Geeni ones make a sound when you turn them on or off as well... not really a click, but more like a hollowed "*tap*" sound.
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2. Weightlifting/staying extremely athletic
3. Severe Thunderstorms of all kinds
4. Food and drinks. So gimme them bbq ribs
Lighting has ALWAYS been a passion of mine. I consider everyone on here to be a friend

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Re: Smart Plug Fail « Reply #12 on: July 20, 2024, 10:13:37 PM » Author: HPS_250
I had an Amazon smart plug that failed a couple months back, it does have a relay so maybe that’s what failed. It still powers up and connects, but won’t switch on or off and just makes a faint high pitched whining noise when you plug it in.

TP-Link is super reliable though, I’ve had some of those smart plugs for almost 5 years now with no issues.
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Re: Smart Plug Fail « Reply #13 on: July 20, 2024, 10:19:30 PM » Author: suzukir122
Yeah I'm starting to lean more towards TP-Link now. If I go for TP-Link, I'll replace all 10 of my Geeni smart plugs.
I'm guessing that TP-Link has their own app to control each plug. Can you also group each plug to operate at the push of a button in the app?
And do the smart plugs also work via Bluetooth, not just WIFI?
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Interests:
1. Motorcycles, Cars, Women, and Lighting (especially fluorescent)
2. Weightlifting/staying extremely athletic
3. Severe Thunderstorms of all kinds
4. Food and drinks. So gimme them bbq ribs
Lighting has ALWAYS been a passion of mine. I consider everyone on here to be a friend

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Re: Smart Plug Fail « Reply #14 on: July 20, 2024, 10:22:46 PM » Author: HPS_250
Yeah they have an app works great for controlling the plugs and you can make groups. The ones I have don’t have Bluetooth but they might make some that do, I just use them on Wi-Fi
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I’ve always been interested in all kinds of lighting, mainly incandescent and HID, and especially all kinds of sodium lamps (HPS/LPS). I’ll tolerate LED but I’m not a fan of it.
I’m not proud to say that my city has Devolved to LED.

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